ABC du Père Castor.

Paris, Flammarion, 1936.

Large 4to, pp. [28], in full colour, with double-page insert at centre of letters and words, designed to be used for word games, endpapers printed with additional words and pictures, instructions ‘pour les mamans curieuses’ at end; a very few marks, a very good copy in the original decorative stiff paper wrappers, preserved in glassine.


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First edition. A colourful alphabet book, each letter beautifully illustrated by a different animal by the Russian émigré illustrator Feodor Rojankovsky, aka Rojan. Alongside the mundane, the animal selection includes contributions from Rojan’s favourite haunt, the zoo, including marmots, African ground squirrels, and wapiti. The instruction leaf posits the work as either an introduction or aid to learning to read, justifying its use of obscure animals for certain letters as being unlikely to deter children, who will thus be made familiar with the shape and sound of letters, their name and the order of the alphabet. This is followed by suggested games with the letters and words in the central insert, and for older children.

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